First I admit that I am not a web designer, but a design lover, and what you are going to read are not my own thoughts, but the summary of the best things I have read about that topic.
Minimalism today refers to a certain style and applies in many fields: Art, architecture, literature, philosophy, law, as way of life… In this article, we are going to explore the meaning of minimalism in the context of Web design.
What kind of designers are you?
Are you a designer who hides behind ornament and decoration? who uses one or other element just because it looks trendy? or the other one who strips his work down to its most fundamental features functionally, where each element integrates perfectly in the design and adds value to the user experience?
If you are the first one, you have to know that just because an element looks beautiful to you, that doesn’t mean it looks beautiful to your users, but if you are the second one, you are a minimalist designer.
What is Minimalism in web design?
As a way of life, minimalism means having as little as you require, so you don’t have to think about things that you own. In web design it is quite the same, it is about keeping only the most essential elements that let users quickly and easily solve their problems.
Minimalist designing forces you to make conscious design decisions, it makes you question each element about its necessity even if it is a spare space or a dividing line.
Is minimalism means simplicity?
Using Wikipedia, Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple, and Minimalism is any design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect. May be minimalism is not simplicity, but it seeks it by removing unnecessary elements that does not support users tasks.
How can I know “unnecessary elements”?
Choose one, take it away, if the design remains to work the way it should, throw that element out because it is not absolutely required, if not keep it.
In other term, don’t add elements just for their own sake.
Design in Silence…unnecessary elements are noise.
How can I reach Minimalism in my design?
- Limit your purposes: Choice isn’t always good, pare down decisions and clear your design. If you want to create a website, try to give it one single purpose, with one call to action.
- Limit your resources: Reducing the number of colors, fonts, sizes… will make the design feel consistent, and force you to focus more on the real problem.
- Find your important element, and put it above all other elements.
- Don’t just throw out elements, think about your users’ needs and try to make tasks as simple as possible.
- Focus on details because they are important to the overall look and feel of the website when the elements are few.
You don’t add White space, you just get rid of stuff.
Removing or excluding elements from a web page necessarily leaves empty space. So that space is not an action that you do, but a result that you get through throwing unnecessary elements out, because you don’t need more space. but you need less stuff.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery
But why should I try Minimalism?
- Minimalism forces you to polish your message, and as long as you don’t lose sight of the primary goal, it helps users to see the core elements of the interface and makes their journey intuitive and purposeful.
- Minimalism will not die, it makes the design timeless.
- With fewer elements on the page you have a lightweight site that loads fast. It also makes navigation more easier.
- Minimalist design is a natural fit with responsive design frameworks.
Google uses the white space to draw more attention to the logo and the search box. they succeed to kept the design relatively timeless. At Google they say, “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”
Apple has a consistent design with a very effective use of white space. The main purpose of their website is to sell and advertise their products. So they make them the primary focus by using the white background to offer the perfect contrast and let the products do the talking.
Images are the most prominent form of artwork in minimalist design, they enable an entire world of emotional connection and set an atmosphere.
ETQ have an organized and simple website design. With the clear sight and few elements they have less chance to go out of style or lose the purpose.
Tinker succeed to build a feeling of trust by showing the process of building their products in a minimalist way. The spacing and arrangement of content make for a great design.
The white space makes Twnsnd look peaceful and inviting, and by offering the choice of their website’s looking, they add a sense of freedom.
You don’t have to use everything to communicate, just be clear to be heard, that’s what Minerva believe in. They have a great presentation of content, with a clear menu.
The Minimalists say:
Minimalism wasn’t about just getting rid of our stuff, it was about taking control our our life.
As web designers we should say:
Minimalism wasn’t about just getting rid of the unnecessary elements, it was about taking control of our Design.
Because removing the clutter is not the end result, it is merely the first step.